A horrific trade period at the end of 2020 set the foundation for Collingwood’s lowest finish in the eighteen team era, as the Pies finished 17th. The Craig Mcrae era begins in 2022, can he take Collingwood back to the top eight?
Jack Tobin will be previewing EVERY team in the lead up to the 2022 season, while PuntingInDanger and his crew will be back this year to give their betting tips on every game. Be sure to head to the AFL Tips page for regular updates!
Collingwood Magpies Season Preview
In: Nathan Krueger (Geelong), Patrick Lipinksi (Western Bulldogs), Nick Daicos (Pick 4), Arlo Draper (Pick 45), Cooper Murley (Pick 49), Harvey Harrison (Pick 52)
Out: Max Lynch (Hawthorn)
It was a far less tumtulous trade period than 2020 for Collingwood with Nathan Kruger set to boost their key position stocks, while Patrick Lipinski will add some serious talent to their midfield. Nick Daicos’ arrival will bring plenty of joy to the Magpies supporters, and he will bring an immediate impact with his ability to find the ball.
2021 could not have gone any worse for Collingwood, managing just six wins in a season that saw club legend Nathan Buckley sacked as senior coach. The Pies struggled to implement a consistent brand, and their attacking game was unbearable to watch for the majority of the season. Collingwood ranked 16th for scoring in 2021 averaging just 70 points per game, and were held to 65 points or less on ten occasions
Craig Mcrae will have a challenge on his hands reshaping the way the Pies move the ball, however with a league high nine debutants last year, he’s got an abundance of young talent to work with. Scott Pendlebury has been earmarked to play off half back which will provide some much needed class by foot coming out of defence, but it’s going to be a long process to fix the Pies issues with ball in hand.
Collingwood will need a major lift from Brodie Grundy who had struggled in 2021, with the star ruckman averaging his lowest number of disposals and hitouts since 2016. With so many youngsters in their midfield this season, Grundy needs to get back to his best if Collingwood are going to be competitive.
With so many young players and a brand new game plan being implemented under Craig Macrae, there’s going to be a lot of patience required by Collingwood supporters this season. 2022 will likely follow a similar pattern, it’s all about the youth once again.
Breakout Player: Patrick Lipinski
Collingwood benefited from the Bulldogs stacked midfield as Patrick Lipinski headed to the Pies for more opportunities. Lipinski averaged 34 disposals per game in the VFL last season, but couldn’t break into the senior side on a consistent basis. Despite having limited opportunities Lipinski still averaged 17 disposals per game at AFL.
Lipinski has now been in the system for five years and with a starting midfield role in store for him at Collingwood, Lipinski will be set for a massive season.
What Do The Magpies Need To Do This Season?
Getting games into their young players is important, but the biggest thing Collingwood needs to do is show a clearly identifiable brand of football. Collingwood were an elite defensive side between 2018-2020, and they were solid in defence last season under Buckley, but it was completely at the neglect of their attacking game.
Robert Harvey flipped the switch and played all out attack. Under both coaches the Pies lacked any definable system, new coach Craig Mcrae has promised to bring a brand of football that is based around pressure. If Mcrae can lay the platform for a sustainable brand of football, then Collingwood will be heading in the right direction.
It’s going to be another long season for the Magpie army in 2022, with such a young list and a new coach, it’s going to be a difficult challenge for Collingwood. The Pies are effectively in year one of their rebuild and establishing a new game plan is going to take some time before they reap the rewards. Brodie Grundy is coming off a career worst season and Jordan De Goey has had a horror off-season that was self-inflicted and it’s difficult to see that not affecting his on field performance. Collingwood will be looking to once again get plenty of games into their youngsters, but there will be another bottom four finish for the Pies.